by Mario Forte
CHATTANOOGA - Founded by Mario G. Forte and John Moretz in the spring of 2002, the Pride League became Chattanooga's first sanctioned Gay & Lesbian Bowling League.
The league began when the management of the Hixson bowling center approached the Lookout Bears social group and suggested that the Bears start a summer league. The Bear club members had been attending regular social events at the bowling center for several years, where members would get together on a weekly basis to bowl for fun. The idea was fueled by the interest of the Bear club's members, and before long, the word was spreading throughout the community that a Gay League was forming.
The league held elections for board members and decided early that the mission of the Pride League would be to create a social environment where everyone was welcome and could have a good time in the company of friends.
The emphasis was on fun, and the league's wins and losses were not taken too seriously. Over the past three years, bowlers of widely differing skill levels have signed up to bowl in the Pride League.
The Pride League bowls every Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Holiday Bowl in Hixson, Tenn., northeast of Chattanooga.
Following the success of the Pride League, a second league, called the Rainbow League, was formed at the AMF Bowling Center in East Ridge, Tenn., south of Chattanooga. That league is headed up by Kenny Griffith and Nick Wallace. They bowl on Wednesday nights at 6:30 p.m., offering the GLBT community an additional social outlet.
In addition to the League Bowling, the members of Lookout Bears–along with the Pride and Rainbow Leagues–have organized several open bowling competitions benefiting local charities. Several thousand dollars were raised in 2004 for Chattanooga CARES and for St. Jude's Children's Hospital.
For further information, visit the Pride Bowling Web site at http://hometown.aol.com/pridebowling or The Lookout Bears' Web site at http://lookoutbears.org. To find out more about the Rainbow League, email them at [email protected].